Is Snow a Sign of Global Warming?

Scientists are actually finding that snowstorms could be one of the signs of global warming.

| January 8, 2010

Snow global warming

Rising ocean surface temperatures caused by global warming have increased the temperature and moisture content of the air passing over the United States, thus setting the stage for heavier snow and rainstorms.


Recent heavy snowstorms and cold weather have prompted some commentators to suggest that a cold winter proves global warming isn’t really happening.

Don’t let those naysayers snow you. 

A few snowstorms, cold snaps or even heat waves do not prove anything about climate change, because there is a significant difference between weather and climate. Weather is what we experience on any given day or even over a couple of weeks. Climate describes a region’s prevailing conditions — including such things as temperature, rainfall, wind, humidity and atmospheric pressure — over long periods of time. Climate is a good indicator of what to expect. For example, in the Midwest, one would expect cold winters, whereas in a Mediterranean climate, one would expect a generally milder winter.

Climate change refers to shifts in prevailing conditions observed over decades. One such shift is a long-term rise in global average temperatures. The current cold spells are occurring against this backdrop.

Putting aside the difference between weather and climate, climate change projections show that a warming planet generates more precipitation in areas that typically experience rain or snow. Rising ocean surface temperatures already have increased the temperature and moisture content of the air passing over the United States, setting the stage for heavier snow and rainstorms. An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report found that global warming has increased the frequency of storms that dump heavy precipitation over most land regions that experience storms. Most deserts, conversely, are getting drier.  

“Climate scientists aren’t at all surprised that there are more drenching rain or blizzards in certain parts of the country,” says Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel, a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). “That’s consistent with well-documented climate change trends over the past several decades. Unless we take some dramatic steps to curb global warming, we likely will see a lot more regional precipitation over the next few decades.”

1/4/2011 7:13:12 PM

sorry, to read about global warming on mother earth news. Why not the so called concerned scientific people tell ahead of time what will happen? So far the temperature and the effort to prove temp. rise is proving to be a mess; they have now moved to explaining 'weather' and 'climate'. The amount being spent on trying to keep the earth clean is eating into tax payers! and it is not helpful to mankind. Man need not try to be God through various government agencies under various names.

12/27/2010 5:41:14 PM

I can't believe that MEN readers still deny global warming. I hope that MEN will publish more articles on the subject as it is the most important issue facing mankind. The IPCC is a scientific group. Some of scientist names are listed here:

12/21/2010 3:49:22 PM

I can't believe Mother Earth News still believes in global warming. Didn't you read the news stories about the emails the so called scientist sent? Haven't you read any of the real science? I live on the coast of California. Every few years it rains a lot. It always has! It is called weather cycles and is due largely from ocean temps and right now the water is cooler than normal. Then the storms move east across the mid-west and drop, ummmm, snow! It is not global warming. And quit with the name calling like naysayers and denier. Just because your science is junk crap doesn't mean you have to call names.

12/21/2010 2:01:05 PM

Hey. Listen to the comments of your readers. Drop the "GLOBAL WARMING" articles. I have to get ready to move snow. There's a Gore front coming through.

12/20/2010 4:56:15 PM

It should also be noted that with all the volcanic activity that the earth has experienced this year; the particulate matter of the ash also contributes to the strength of these storms also. And the colder temps that also occur. If I recall there was Karakatoa that was directly linked to a mini ice age when it blew.

charlie ewing
12/20/2010 3:17:17 PM

I would also point out that there is no direct evidence to support the fact that the great lakes have less ice cover per year is related to global climate change, global warming, or even a gradual effect started millions of years ago. Living in Michigan myself, I am constantly bombarded by data that might cause locals to think otherwise even without scientific study. Here is a small list of things that immediately came to mind: 1) lake level went down recently, which would have increased the ratio of salts to diluting water, lowering the temperature needed to freeze the lake. 2) increased rate of chemicals going into the lakes, see #1 3) increased level of active organisms in the lakes, see #2. 4) increased logging (++ of fence-rows and roadsides) and target cuts to collect insect infested trees for their furniture value, which would reduce the moisture content of the lakes region, causing both upward and downward sloping precipitation models in certain areas affected 5) continued switch from cement based road and parking lot structures back to tar and stone and/or blacktop, increasing the petroleum based run-off into the lakes, further preventing ice-over, and changing localized weather patterns You can see this argument is not for/against human-caused change. Instead its an argument of sources of data and the ability of the "scientists" to see the whole elephant before them, and not just the tree-like leg that blocks their vie

charlie ewing
12/20/2010 2:53:44 PM

You all must remember that MEN is and always has been a business. It must make money to continue on; feeding itself and its employees. MEN will continue to publish articles, advertisement and/or propaganda that brings in cash and/or favors until the day of its final issue. As noted previously in print, the reader must learn to pick and choose what we use from the magazine and other output channels offered by MEN. Every source is fallible, since all data we use as humans is human made, human interpreted. One must assume that since MEN is still around and looks to be going into the future quite easily, the articles that get printed target their intended audience accurately enough to bring in the money they need, and in proper proportion. Via sales records and surveys, they will modify content to keep that stream of income stable indefinitely if possible. I personally enjoy the construction techniques, food recipes, seed saving articles, and information on building better resources for my garden. I filter out the rest and consider it filler; that content is akin to advertisement for someone paid better than MEN. I never read articles on fuel efficiency, weather data, or anything having data displayed as a simplistic graphic. As of the last 3 issues, the percent of content I find useful still outweighs the filler, and so I continue my subscription. If ever that content ratio shifts, I will find myself out of a magazine. Until then, I think MEN is doing a fine job.

bonnie jean
12/20/2010 2:49:03 PM

This is in response to the previous comments: "The maximum seasonal coverage of Great Lakes ice decreased approximately 30 percent from 1973 through 2008." Isn't that in itself - that ONE LITTLE piece of the giant puzzle - enough to stop you in your tracks, and allow you to clear your preconceived notions of conspiracy theories, and logic-based rebuttals of assessments and conclusions drawn by those who have really studied the subject IN DEPTH? This is not 6th grade science. I have heard that argument before. There is plenty more to learn AFTER 6th grade. You are basing your opinions and conclusions on concepts you haven't personally studied, and therefore can only take or reject on faith. Rather than reject and refute them based on faith - perhaps opening yourself to new understanding would be more beneficial to you, your community, your children, your grandchildren, and the world beyond your own personal sphere of direct influence.

12/20/2010 2:42:05 PM

Most of the world is NOT reacting to the reality of global warming so not sure what Julie_2 is so worried about. Independent thinkers understand where the minority dissension is coming from. Let's forget for a moment WHY it might be happening - never mind that - it IS happening, the science behind it is overwhelming. Wouldn't prudence dictate that we should mitigate against the likely changes as much as possible? Never mind the planet. It will survive quite nicely, thanks. People however? not so sure...

julie casey
12/20/2010 10:06:58 AM

Note to Mother Earth News: I think you seriously underestimate the intelligence and independence of your readers by continually throwing these global warming propaganda pieces at us, thinking you will lull us into behaving like sheep like the rest of the U.S. and much of the world. We read Mother Earth News because we think for ourselves and want to be independent of mainstream B.S. I've said it once and I'll say it again, quit politicizing and stick to what we want to read - ways to live and think independently!

e. neal_2
2/24/2010 8:28:04 AM

Christine: Thanks for the feedback. That is interesting. Do you know of a source that refutes the facts and analysis of this film? Aside: I think it's pretty obvious that the film is a piece of propaganda. Isn't everything in this debate propaganda ("a form of communication aimed at influencing the attitude of a community toward some cause or position")? Any refutation on the facts?

christine missik_2
2/21/2010 5:01:47 PM

The Great Global Warming Swindle is an out and out propaganda piece, with the producer known for distortion and deception. The Independent Television Commission in the UK found that the editing of the producers past documentary, "Against Nature," had distorted or misrepresented the views of the people he interviewed. One of the major scientists featured in The Great Global Warming Swindle, Dr. Wunsch of MIT considered legal action against the film for misrepresenting his views. He states, "What we now have is an out-and-out propaganda piece, in which there is not even a gesture toward balance or explanation of why many of the extended inferences drawn in the film are not widely accepted by the scientific community. There are so many examples, it's hard to know where to begin." Please use official reputable organizations for information on Global Climate change, not this film.

e. neal_2
2/19/2010 1:00:17 PM

Have any of you seen THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE? Those who have seen it and remain convinced that global warming is man made, I would be interested in your take. The film SEEMS to point out where those who argue man-made-global-warming are wrong on the facts, wrong on the logic, and points out the biases that have come into play. I would like to hear the other side. Specifically, where are the film makers/interviewees wrong on the facts? Where is their logic flawed? What would their biases be? Has the other side done a movie of similar quality? I have an open mind on the topic. In fact, if global warming is the fault of humans, it would be one more reason that we need to change course and get back to simpler living--something I support. But I just haven't seen the credible science. The fact that there is so much money behind the man-made-global-warming theory kind of raises a red flag for me. It also makes me a little suspicious of some of the research out there.

2/11/2010 12:38:05 AM

Radashack You said it right-the world could turn into a solid ball of ice and it would still be due to "Global warming". Seems to me that there used to be vineyards in Nova Scotia. Must have been warmer then. Man made global warming is a scam to make certain people rich. Sorry richer. CO2 pollution? Let me stop breathing. I agree with TA-yep I want clean air and water. I want to not be dependant on a foreign government, be that for oil or rare earth (China)for hybrid cars and wind turbines. This current "situation" has more to do with the El Nino in the Pacific than climate change.

todd reece
1/23/2010 4:53:09 PM

And the final quote: "Muir-Wood himself is more cautious. He said: "The idea that catastrophes are rising in cost partly because of climate change is completely misleading. "We could not tell if it was just an association or cause and effect. Also, our study included 2004 and 2005 which was when there were some major hurricanes. If you took those years away then the significance of climate change vanished." Holy smoking gun Batman. VANISHED..??? Wha???

todd reece
1/23/2010 4:51:03 PM

Just to prove it...YET again, quote from the TIMES: "The latest criticism of the IPCC comes a week after reports in The Sunday Times forced it to retract claims in its benchmark 2007 report that the Himalayan glaciers would be largely melted by 2035. It turned out that the bogus claim had been lifted from a news report published in 1999 by New Scientist magazine." Which means they used a 1999 report in 2007 to make their claims of melting glaciers in 2035... Nice.. up to date science... Again a quote: "The Sunday Times has since found that the scientific paper on which the IPCC based its claim had not been peer reviewed, nor published, at the time the climate body issued its report. When the paper was eventually published, in 2008, it had a new caveat. It said: "We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and catastrophe losses." Despite this change the IPCC did not issue a clarification ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit last month. It has also emerged that at least two scientific reviewers who checked drafts of the IPCC report urged greater caution in proposing a link between climate change and disaster impacts — but were ignored. " Wow.. no peer review.. and arrogance to ignore their OWN scientists... Me thinks the AGW peeps need to wake up. Damnnnn, I can read. And read my next comment too...

todd reece
1/15/2010 10:34:41 AM

Willbur Even NASA admits its data has been flawed in the past. And "400 million years of data" is bullcrap... They can't document with any level of certainty exactly what era they can point to. They can "Theorize".... Annnnd another thing... DO tell how they accumulated all that data from 400 million years ago?? Tell me... Did they get those from handwritten notes? uhhh, perhaps, from some sort of memory device uncovered from Iceland? Nooo I got it, perhaps they are just really guessing... oppps I mean Educated guessing that is. I mean Science one time that: heavier objects fall faster, Pholigston, we thought the atom was the smallest thing, Scientists had no clue about washing hands for surgery, ie...Germs and bacteria... and the list of wrong theories go on and on... But all that was settled too eh?

todd reece
1/15/2010 9:59:21 AM

So, I can't read. Thats what I expect, I mean I must be an absolute dolt. My point, Willy, is that it took great minds over a thousand years to which Copernicus finally resolved that the Earth revolved around the sun. During these thousand years, the brightest minds around the world whether in Arabia, or Persia, or in Asia and finally in Europe devoted days and days and years and LIFETIMES in pursuit of the truth. not just 40 years. J Rudnicki, a contemporary of Copernicus, addressed his ETHICS as such: "His scientific method, though determined by the horizons of contemporary knowledge and belief, was yet ideally objective. Ethically, his actions throughout his life bear witness to the highest standards." Such is not the case with the AGW. Which is another thing..."the AGW side will prevail..." You say that like they are a sports team...what about Humanities side? What about the right and wrong of scientific studies? Does it make sense to SUPPOSE that after 40 years of dedicated research, that we know everything thats happened in this world? No. You can't. Does it make sense that we can, with accuracy, pin down climate variances to terms of centuries or decades in the past 1000, 2000, or 10000 years? No we can't. WE can only postulate as to what seems to have happened. We have had the technology (which is only as good as the programming) to do decent climate research for the past 40 years. Yet we are being told this is all settled? Nahhhh

1/14/2010 6:39:54 PM

The AGW side will prevail, right after we learn to read. Or if we can keep everyone confused about the difference between "climate" and "weather." Boy, I can't wait for gas to hit $4 again. Fortunately, the energy companies are the straight shooters.

1/14/2010 6:36:14 PM

TA, you get 'em guy: "My point is this... Show me real time (ie, daily observations, noted and dbl chk'd for validity and accuracy of climate data observed over, oooohhhh lets say 1/1000th of the life cycle of the Earth (say 3 hundred thousand years?) and then I'll start believing you MIGHT know whats going on. Too much to ask you say? When you're dealing with an object millions of years old, how can you get a good sample without a long term observation? You can't." How the hell are they going to know anything when they only have data dating back 400 million years. And like they hide all their data, dude. Do you believe this site even has climate data sets (after a quick search online):

1/14/2010 6:23:24 PM

Right on dude. Uncle Sam gave those researcher 79 billion dollars since 1989. They have been bought off. Listen to OPEC, they say global warming is a scam. They only made 600 billion dollars last year, down 40% from 2008. It must be a scientific scam.

todd reece
1/14/2010 12:06:52 PM

Lets look at the author...shall we?? According to Mother: The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit organization working for a healthy environment and a safer world. Founded in 1969, UCS is headquartered in Cambridge, Mass., and has offices in Berkeley, Calif., Chicago and Washington, D.C. But a little deeper investigation shows that although this is a nonprofit entity, that the UCS might just have a reason for a biased opinion. and heres why... Wow...the 4th (as of 2002) highest reciepent of Climate grants (ie..your TAX dollars) is the independent author of this article..not a person...but a group... They... alll.... penned.. this... article... together. Talk a about "it takes a village"... really? I tried to get a more up-to-date study of where and who funds Climate Change research, but I am siting this study from Marshall Institute,and they source: "Source: Searches in the GuideStar and Foundation Center on-line databases for climate change related information as well as IRS 990 Financial Forms" I will look into GAO articles as well... But highly dubious that a well known "free thinking" magazine would just copy and paste an explanation from some party that has a vested interest in the outcome of public opinion..... You can access this file at my site here: Mulder??? Mulder??? "the truth is out there"...

coast lover
1/13/2010 8:38:37 PM

It is just this type of junk-science-political-tripe article that made me drop my mother earth news subscription years ago. kudos to TA on his remarks.... spot on!

todd reece
1/12/2010 9:29:20 AM

I want to amend my "1775" statement.... that was "the little Ice Age".... but previous to that, during the Renaissance, there was an incredible amount of warming, corresponding to the end of the Dark Ages.... My point is this... Show me real time (ie, daily observations, noted and dbl chk'd for validity and accuracy of climate data observed over, oooohhhh lets say 1/1000th of the life cycle of the Earth (say 3 hundred thousand years?) and then I'll start believing you MIGHT know whats going on. Too much to ask you say? When you're dealing with an object millions of years old, how can you get a good sample without a long term observation? You can't. Science and the scientific method is taught to all dolts in the 6th grade.

todd reece
1/11/2010 9:21:00 PM

Unreal... Come on people. You CANNOT tell me for a fact that there is man made global warming. Its been HOTTER in the past. Like during 1775 +/-... Climate change, if its happening, will happen regardless of our efforts. Do I want clean air??... yes. Do I want clean water? Yes But I'll not be a sucker for a "cause" which refuses to open up their data, refuses debate, considers opponents sub-human, and decides for itself the issue is "settled".. Science is about experiments, observation over a long term, and opening the "science" to contrarian POV for confirmation and consensus. Any element of that formula that is missing and the "facts" that are based on the data culled from those results are null. To base ANY type of conclusion on real time data for a MAXIMUM of 40 years is irresponsible at best and most likely criminal. To change, via "tricks" ANY data that could be viewed even by the most untrained eye goes to the heart of credibility of the argument. There should be NO illusion of deceit, or fabrication and to have that happen is an absolute RED FLAG. To ignore that simple fact of sound science cries of desperation.

1/11/2010 7:35:51 PM

And again I will say'Yes the Earth is Warming'.It has been for the last 10,000-50,000 years,after the last Ice Age.What most do not know is that for a lot of Earth's history there were no ice caps.How can one surmise how the dinosaurs roamed the Earth for millenia?They were cold-blooded animals,they could only survive in temperatures of over 45 degrees.They also do not tell you how water plays a huge part in all this.More water vapor,more clouds,more clouds= less sunlight=lower long term temperature.The warming trend is not linear,it very much is logarithmic in nature,the sun does not warm the Earth evenly and the Earth itself releases heat.Again,time scale is everything and frankly we haven't been sentient as a race long enough about this issue to make a valid conclusion.Yes we need to stop using oil and coal,indeed all fossil fuels should be banned.We know enough now as a race not to need to use them.

1/10/2010 1:56:57 PM

Of course "scientists" (all of them? how many? whom?) aren't surprised by record snowfalls and can say they're caused by global warming. Warmist scientists aren't surprised by ANY climatological phenomena or weather, in the framework of their one-size-fits-all explanation. Nothing cannot be fitted into global warming, since fitting is done by an ad hoc explanation and "yes, it's caused by global warming" is assumed. This means that they are not doing science; they're doing rationalization. EVERYTHING and anything is compatible with and causable by global warming. When Hurricane Katrina hit, warmists said that hurricanes were made stronger and more frequent by global warming (though actual scientific study said that hurricanes weren't stronger or more frequent); when hurricane seasons died to the last two years' nothing much, warming was causing a lack of hurricanes (which then became necessary parts of weather cycles, so their paucity was a problem). This means that global warming is not subject to refutation or subject to evidence; if it is compatible with any and all weather and climate conditions, it is not explaining anything. As we've learned from the release of programming, data sets, and e-mails from centers of warmist climatology, warmists rig data, calculations, evidence, publication, peer review processes, and even publication staffing. It is nothing to them to rig explanations for apparently contradictory daily cold weather.

1/9/2010 10:32:39 PM

Seems no matter what the weather does, changes are still being attributed to global warming. I am surprised that Mother Earth News would be willing to tow the line of lies for the Powers that Be and continue pushing the it. Pathetic. The Earth could turn into a solid ball of ice and it would still be due to "Global warming".

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